How to Get Permanent Marker Off the Wall (Magic Eraser Vs. Sharpie)

You have kids at home, they’re running around like lunatics and one of them decided since you can draw on paper, obviously you can draw on a wall. With Sharpie. Here’s show to remove it.  The Sharpie that is, not the child.

 

Years ago when I first started this blog I got a question from one of my readers about how to get Sharpie off walls. It was a nice change of pace from the most common question I get which is what’s the REAL difference between Miracle Whip and Mayonnaise. The following is the exchange that took place:

Question Submitted:

Hi Karen!

Long story short, a Sharpie went through the wash (my clothes were perfectly fine), however when I took the cap off the Sharpie to inspect it, liquefied Sharpie flung onto my wall (I rent). Now I have three large, drippy looking marks on the wall and I have no idea how to get them off. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
-brenna

Karen Answers:

Hi Brenna –

Well I can tell you right now, I wouldn’t worry about the walls so much as the dog.  Sharpies, otherwise known as “Wrinkle Dogs”, are excellent swimmers but don’t hold up well in washing machines I wouldn’t imagine.   The fact that you have described your dog as “liquefied” alarms me but,  I’ll attempt to answer your question.

Also, why was your Sharpie wearing a cap?

~ Karen

Shar-Pei

Imagine my embarrassment when I realized that Brenna wanted to remove permanent marker from her walls, not her dog.  It was a Sharpie, not a Shar-Pei.  This was discovered once Brenna emailed me a photo of the mishap. 

I also wrote a post a few years ago about how to revive a dried our Sharpie. In that case I did not mistake a pen for a dog. 

 

Actual reader’s wall with permanent marker stains.

Taking all Ask Karen questions seriously, I immediately notified Brenna that the Sharpie marks on her wall look just like wiggling sperm.   In the interest of science and Brenna’s sperm looking Sharpie marks I conducted an experiment on my very own white walls to figure out how to get Sharpie off walls.  

My own white walls which I used to test how to remove permanent marker.

I did my absolute best to replicate Brenna’s sperm marks.  And after just 30 seconds working with the two magic ingredients, my wall looked like this …

I can guarantee that the above photo isn’t altered or Photoshopped in any way. I didn’t even know how to use Photoshop 10 years ago when this question originally came in.  I do know how to use it now but prefer to limit my Photoshopping powers to keeping my roots touched up on Instagram photos.

So how did I do it? Well, I didn’t use nail polish remover and a cotton ball like some other sites recommend. I *did* use something else you’re likely to have on hand though.

A (clean) Magic Eraser and Windex.

And the Windex isn’t even mandatory.  Just using a Magic Eraser and water on your wall will remove permanent marker without removing the paint.

Yes – a Magic Eraser is all you need to get Sharpie off your walls.

How Do You Remove Sharpie From the Wall.

How to Get Permanent Marker Off the Wall

How to Get Permanent Marker Off the Wall

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Estimated Cost: $2

How to safely remove Sharpie from walls without damaging the paint.

Materials

  • Magic Eraser
  • Windex or Water

Instructions

  1. Spray the affected wall with glass cleaner or water.
  2. Using as gentle pressure as possible scrub the area with a Magic Eraser. Continue scrubbing and wiping with a clean cloth until the Sharpie marks are gone.

Notes

The newer the marks, the more easily the marker can be removed so do it as soon as you notice it.

And here … is video proof. 

Notice that I kept flipping the Magic Eraser around so I was always working with a clean part of the sponge.  Also, right after I finished cleaning the wall with the Magic Eraser, I rubbed over it with a damp sponge to clean up any residue.  And that’s it. That’s how to get Sharpie off the wall. I am completely confident it’ll work for you.

And in case you’re wondering NO, I was not paid in any way by Magic Eraser to do this post. Although I wouldn’t pass it up if they offered. Oh God. I shouldn’t have used the word sperm so much.  Magic Eraser people would never want to sponsor someone who says sperm all the time.  

I should have used the word “love wiggles”.

To anyone who came here looking for information on how to get actual love wiggles off of their wall, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. And your misfortune. 

55 Comments

  1. Noah Enholm says:

    The pH level or acidity of the lemon, combined with the oil, works together to remove marker stains on painted walls. It gently coaxes the blemish without hurting the paint on the walls.

  2. serra says:

    it isn’t working for me! I’ve tried all the tips in the comments and all, magic eraser is just taking off the paint. I’m getting desparate.

    • Uriah Ayril Kaant says:

      That’s right you credulous chump, it doesn’t fucking work!

      I tried it with water, I tried it with isopropyl alcohol. It works WORSE than isopropyl alcohol and a fucking dishtowel. I just dropped six bucks on a useless piece of foam, and I’m livid.

  3. David says:

    I was amazed to find the water / magic eraser works! I thought was going to be a repaint and 2 mins later its done. thanks for sharing this tip

  4. Janey says:

    My grandson took a water-soluble marker..thank GOD it was water-soluble ..he walked around the whole first floor of the bf’s new house at his height and ran a line..a pink line. I about passed out this happened in a matter of seconds! Dish soap got it off but for days I held my breath that I didn’t get it all off or missed a line. Nope never told the bf about it, some things are best kept to yourself. I have never really found the Magic Erasers to be much good.

  5. MaryPat says:

    Our secret use for the Magic Eraser is that it will clean hard water and metal stains off the sides of our fiberglass in-ground pool. Does not matter if the stain are above or below the water line, a little elbow grease and a magic eraser does the trick!

  6. Mary W says:

    My grandson (4 yo) decided to ‘decorate’ his room then moved onto the hallway and brilliantly decided to have the livingroom walls match. Using black magic marker, he made wonderful drawings of trees, flowers, smiley faces, balloons, and other really happy pictures. He was so proud that he had done such a thorough job. His Mom came in from cleaning the garage and discovered the art museum – called big sister out of her room to show her what G had done while sister was NOT watching him, She called her husband in saying DO NOT punish him. He knew it had to be bad. He was smart enough to take a walking tour movie of the scene as my daughter cleaned the walls. She used a Magic Eraser and in less than an hour there were no traces of the pop-up art show, one totally bummed little boy that had been so proud of his decorating gift to his family, one punished older sister, and one ‘disappointed in you’ dad that said he wasn’t going to punish G since he didn’t know it was wrong but expected him to ask next time if it would be ok. I think it would have made a great commercial.

  7. Ken Kosko says:

    91% Isopropyl (or Ethyl) Alcohol and a paper towel will instantly remove permanent marker from most surfaces with little effort

  8. Jenny W says:

    Well this is timely LoL!
    I have been looking at ways to create a faux Shiplap wall in my staircase hall, and a lot of people have used a regular old fine tipped sharpie to create the lines. I am actually thinking of trying that method because I have nothing better to do during this damn Covid Lockdown.
    I am worried that I will hate it, though, and am already googling ways to get rid of it if that happens.
    A magic eraser for minor slip ups, but I wonder if you know of a great primer that would cover up sharpie without bleeding through?

    • Karen says:

      I’d try just a regular primer like Fresh Start to begin with and if that doesn’t seem like it’s going to work I’d use Bin primer/sealer. :) ~ karen!

  9. Overlord laharl says:

    rubbing alcohol and a paper towel work wonders and most household stock them
    some stock alcohol pads instead that would be an all in one solution.
    if you only have peroxide use magic erasers or go and buy some alcohol pads (or alcohol)

    be careful because this method may take some paint with it.
    test in a small inconspicuous spot first (like a corner in a closet)

    extra tip if your using alcohol liquid put a new unused spray bottle lid on the alcohol bottle and you have instant alcohol pads most lids should fit just fine, however you may need to move the cardboard disc from the old lid punch a hole in it and pit it in the spray lid for a good seal

  10. Trevor says:

    Hey so this happened to me but the magic eraser doesn’t work that well all it dose is pretty much spread it around but this is the trick just like kids do when they write with sharpies on themselves get a Kleenex and some hand sanitizer germ ex is my favorite put the hand sanitizer in the tissue and tap it against the spots then grab another Kleenex and rub it where the handsanitizer is and rub it around the spot it will smear some what but then you can use the magic eraser.
    And then the spot will be gone for good . But when you just use a magic eraser the sharpie may not be completely visible but it still is there.

    • Diane says:

      Whatever you do, do not EVER use a magic eraser on skin!!!!!! I learned the hard way and this is how….
      I was in the shower and realized I’d forgotten to get the grungy grey adhesive (like surgical tape leaves behind) off my upper chest and ribs. Note: WD-40 works wonders and doesn’t hurt the skin as it is fish oil. I look over and see a magic eraser sitting on the side of the tub. Hey! Great! That thing works on everything! I grab it, wet it and start scrubbing away in the 2 areas I could reach. It took a minute for the pain receptors to start screaming OH MY GAWD!!! The pain!!!! (Insert a heck of a lot of intense swearing in here.) It stung like hell and I was dancing around the shower as the water hit the area and made it sting more. I get out of the shower pretty much panting in pain and think “Ah, hand cream. That’ll be soothing”. Nope. Nope. Nope. Tears immediately spring up and I’m hopping around like an idiot as it felt like my skin was on fire and it was being stung by a 1,000 bees at the same time. It looked like the worst case of rug burn you could ever have imagined. I couldn’t wear a bra to work as the burns were in 2 areas where it would have sat (thank goodness it was winter and I could layer) and every time my clothing brushed the areas tears welled up. I sat hunched over at work for days trying to not let anything touch. It took weeks before the marks went away after the scabs fell off. So please learn by example and use WD-40, baby oil or other greasy substance to get the adhesive off!

  11. christina says:

    I found that wetting a rag and adding baking soda works just as well as magic eraser.

  12. tessa says:

    I have heavy duty sharpie marks ony wall ive used a magic eraser after that I used bleach and its not coming off help.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tessa. I’m afraid if a Magic Eraser doesn’t work I can’t give any advice. It’s always worked for me. Were you using a genuine Magic Eraser or an imitation one? ~ karen!

  13. Kelli says:

    Yay Magic Eraser! Even bigger YAY as I can find them at my local dollar store! It’s the only thing that can clean my white fridge handles; until then, nothing had worked.

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